Minister of Industry Roy Kachale Banda has promised to engage the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs so that a bill designed to regulate the sale and production of sugar in the country is passed by Parliament and made operational as soon as possible.
The bill is further expected to improve sugar trade competition in Malawi.
Kachale Banda said the bill is with the Ministry of Justice for vetting before it can be ready for tabling.
He made the remarks when he visited Illovo Sugar Africa Limited head office in Limbe to appreciate the way the sugar producer is operating. Kachale Banda is visiting various companies and industries to familiarise himself with their operations.
“I am glad to report that the bill is now at the Ministry of Justice. I will personally push for a speedy process of ensuring that it is ready because the bill is very important,” Kachale Banda said.
During his visit at Illovo, the minister also assured the sugar company of government support so that it continues with its operations as it employs over 14,000 people.
“Illovo is one of the biggest employers in Malawi and one of the biggest taxpayers. My visit was to encourage the company to continue employing as many Malawians as possible,” Kachale Banda said.
Illovo Sugar Africa Managing Director, Lekani Leslie Katandula, was hopeful that once passed and assented to by the President, the sugar bill will promote healthy competition among players in the industry.
Prior to visiting Illovo, Kachale Banda had toured Tehila Bakery and Value Addition Centre where the firm is producing bread and other confectionaries from sweet potato, a development which is reportedly reducing costs incurred in importing raw materials.
But the company’s Managing Director, Jean Pankuku bemoaned “tough conditions which regulatory and utility bodies impose for us to render our services”.
“We are asking government to provide some incentives to us. These crops are locally grown by our farmers and when we are producing commercial products, we are providing markets for our farmers. We are also providing import substitutions,” Pankuku said.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.